The Lone Ranger had development issues from the start, with delayed budgetary concerns and rumors of werewolves. Helmed by Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinskii re-teaming with its star Johnny Depp as The Lone Rangers trusty sidekick Tonto with Armie Hammer as the man himself. The story is John Reid (Armie Hammer) is a by the book lawyer who joins his law marshal brother in a pursuit of some dangerous bandits. When ambushed and left for dead, a native american called Tonto rescues him, guided by a mysterious white horse and team up to bring the outlaws to justice once and for all.
The Lone Ranger is a bit of an odd mix. On the surface it wants to a be a great big adventurous romp with touches of humor but while maintaining a really dark edge that feels totally out of tone with everything else. William Fichtner is virtually unrecognisable as the lead villain Butch Cavendish, an outlaw who while looks grotesque also has a taste for human flesh. Some of the deaths are harder than a regular 12a film, which is admirable for not softening the content just for the younger viewers but still feels out-of-place when Hammer and Depp provide a silly joke afterwards. That’s not say that the film makers attempts at comedy fail, in fact they do work and help carry the film along. Hammers interaction with a young girl and her doll on a train got a huge laugh early on however Tonto’s feeding of his bird is a regular joke that never takes off. The cast do a great job with thier roles, Hammer is great as the iconic hero, having wit, charm as well as the acting ability to make John Reid a fully rounded character. Johnny Depp doesn’t over cook his role as Tonto. With a fear from the trailer of Tonto being Jack Sparrow’s native american cousin, Depp tones down the kookiness to the right level sharing the screen time with Hammer making this more like a buddy movie.
The main problem lay with the films running time. At two and half hours The Lone Ranger drags when is should just bounce along. It’s such a shame because by the time you get to the twenty-minute action scene at the end, it feels like an apology to the views for sitting through unnecessary plot contrivance after unnecessary plot contrivance and the film suffers greatly for it. Its becoming the trend now for blockbusters now being over two hours and needlessly so. The truth is that this film is way too long. I get the impression that it is down to too many creative influences having too many ideas of what they want to do and it that makes everything baggy and bloated. So much so that most of the time it feels like an endurance test as the plot tries to bring in so many elements that once that final sequence starts you breathe a sigh of relief as you finally something happens that note worthy or memorable. By then you may have given up as you start to think about what parts of the film you would edited out yourself. Helena Bonham Carter and Barry Pepper role’s for instance was completely unnecessary as well as Tonto’s 1930′s cut-away story telling section. The romantic interest in the form of Reid’s brothers wife (Ruth Wilson) does feel a little odd and uneasy even though it does have the balls to go through with it without taking too far. It’s an enjoyable ninety minute movie that happens to be an hour too long and that ruins the experience watching all of The Lone Ranger. William Faulkner once said “In writing, you must kill all your darlings” and that is one lesson the film-makers forgot while making it.
About the Author
Chris Byrne is a Film Critic for TFM. Follow @CinemaTronix